Ashland City Council makes decision on medical marijuana dispensaries

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, June 18 2014 at 5:47 PM, Updated: Wed, June 18 2014 at 6:49 PM

Ashland, Ore. -- Ashland became the first city in Southern Oregon to amend it's code to allow dispensaries.

However after concerns from some neighbors changed it's tune, the city banned dispensaries in some areas of town.     

In the latest decision, councilors worked to appease neighbors while giving the medical marijuana industry a chance.

After a long fight to keep a medical marijuana dispensary from moving in on Williamson Way, many residents in the Ashland neighborhood are cautiously optimistic following Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"We felt that the council was listening to our concerns. Part of the problem is we're still concerned that another organization or another type of business could go in the neighborhood," said William Clary, an Ashland resident who said any business near his neighborhood might increase traffic.

The Ashland City Council decided to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in certain zones of the city, even if they're near residential areas. However, the dispensary is required to get a conditional use permit. The permit would mean a 200 foot buffer from residential areas and the opportunity for those living in the buffer zone to voice their concerns.

"That was something we were happy to see," said Clary.

Alex Rogers, CEO of Ashland Alternative Health said he's happy about the council's decision as well.

"What they've done with the conditional use permit is made it so they have a little more leeway in terms of where dispensaries can be but that decision still lies with the council and planning commission," said Rogers.

Both sides said they're feeling okay with the council's latest decision, and at the same time they're waiting for more clarification on how Ashland will ultimately deal with medical marijuana dispensaries.

At the council's next meeting set for the beginning of July, they will look at when dispensaries can be open and rules on how they'll operate.

It's expected the council will also look into ending the current temporary limited ban on dispensaries.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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